Early in my career, I was advised to become friends with secretaries, bus drivers and janitors, who really run the school. In our current setting, they are referred to as administrative assistants, transportation and maintenance, and their role and impact are more important than ever.

Over the last few years, I have also discovered several additional individuals, other than coaches, who are indispensable to our athletic program. They include:

1. The computer guru to whom you can always go to when you’re stumped or when your computer malfunctions. When you have as long a learning curve with new technology as I do, this person becomes the MVP of your program. While it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks, the patience and willingness of this computer expert to help is indispensable.

2. The grounds crew who cut and line our athletic fields and who move bleachers, goals and heavy equipment. Our crew does all of this while mowing school lawns, trimming trees and attending to other normal assorted duties. They often have to alter their demanding work schedules to help our athletic teams.

3. The adult volunteers help in so many ways and are invaluable. These individuals are usually parents or members of the community with fulltime jobs and family commitments. They help because they believe that the athletic program is important to our students and school.

4. The Webmaster manages the school’s webpage. Since the website has become an extremely important method of communicating with and educating our parents, it is important to keep it up to date. It is also has to be well-designed and appealing in order to attract visitors.

5. The school nurse not only tends to the students’ health needs during the school day, but also answers parental questions and maintains the medical records of all our athletes.

Since this varied support group is invaluable, and some of them do not receive a salary for their contributions, it is extremely important to express my appreciation to the support group for their generous efforts.

The secretaries, transportation department, maintenance crew, computer gurus, grounds crew, webmasters, school nurses and parent and community volunteers are definitely unsung heroes. Our athletic programs cannot function without them. It is imperative that we, as athletic supporters, should let them know that we value all of their efforts and that our athletes will be the beneficiaries of them. The next time you see one of these unsung heroes, join me in saying "THANK YOU!"

(Dave McCaulley is assistant principal and activities director at Nevada High School.)